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Microsoft to end security updates for Windows XP

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Banks and businesses in the Triad are aware and preparing for major software switches by next month.

Microsoft will stop making security updates and "patches" April 8. The end of the updates will make XP computers wide open to hackers and viruses.

Emily Wilson owns Computer Troubleshooters in Greensboro. "The security risk is real," she emphasized.

They've been working with individuals and small businesses to upgrade to newer Windows systems. In some cases it may be better to purchase a new machine altogether, Wilson said.

"It’s really kind of a scary situation for people at home, especially if you’re doing online banking or anything where you have your private information," she added.

Computer Troubleshooters made a funny video to address this serious security risk. It explains what will happen to XP computers without security upgrades.

"XP is 12 and a half, almost 13 years old. It's time. It's been around longer than most other systems," Wilson explained.

Tami Eldridge owns Garner's Florist on North Church Street in Greensboro. A family-run business for nearly 50 years, she has a reputation of reliability to maintain for customers in the store and online.

They upgraded from XP recently, knowing there would be security risks in the near future.

"As much sensitive information as we put in our computers we would rather have it be upgraded and not have to worry about it," Eldridge explained.

Eldridge advised other business owners, "If they are dealing with what I am, and they do have that sensitive information? You can’t afford not to upgrade."

FOX8 contacted several major and local banks to make sure they were prepared for the end of XP, which could affect ATM machines running on the system.

High Point Bank Marketing Director Mark Founds said in a statement, "High Point Bank will be replacing the vast majority of our ATMs over the next several months. This is being done primarily to provide a better overall customer experience; an aging operating system was just one factor in our decision to make this investment."

It will also upgrade all ATMs to run on a new operating system.

Wells Fargo spokesperson Josh Dunn wrote in an email, "Software maintenance is a regular part of our business and we're working with Microsoft and our ATM manufacturers to upgrade our ATMs as part of our normal software refresh activities."

Hugh Suhr with SunTrust Corporate Communications told FOX8 in an email, "We’ve taken the necessary steps to insure that the operation and integrity of our network is not affected."

Security experts advise asking businesses or banks you work with if they use Windows XP and how they are planning to transition.